Once again the commercial salmon fishing industry is being tarred and feathered as the demon of the B.C. coast. The fleet of salmon fishing vessels has been reduced dramatically compared to years past. Quota systems, reduced fishing time and reduced fishing areas have all impacted the industry. To say they are the threat to wild salmon stocks, particularly sockeye, is a false claim. Stocks of wild salmon and herring have been declining since the introduction of salmon farms on our coast. This is not a coincidence.
Alexandra Morton, a noted biologist, has been working to rid our B.C. coast of salmon farms for many years. She has documented clear evidence of the damage these salmon farms have created and she has worked to educate the public of the damage they are wreaking on wild salmon stocks. The chance of a fatal disease outbreak spreading to our wild stocks is frightening.
First Nations people are weary of foreign owners of salmon farms operating in their territories. There have been many Ministers of Fisheries and Oceans who support the salmon farming industry while the chance of a major disease outbreak spreading to our wild salmon stocks is very troubling to say the least.
The commercial salmon fishing industry was banned in Norway, Ireland, and Scotland because the wild salmon stocks in those countries were decimated by farmed salmon disease outbreaks. Chile is also a country adversely affected for the same reason. Fish farming that started in Norway and is now in our North American waters are owned and operated by foreign interests. How this has happened in our waters is a travesty! Politics has obviously played a huge part in this with shareholders in the farm fish industry. The most obvious threats to wild salmon stocks have been the governments of Canada and B.C. who have allowed this to happen, and the foreign-owned salmon farms operating in our B.C. waters.